SAfety vehicle(s) using adaptive Interface Technology (save-it) Program dtrs57-02-r-20003 Public Release a proposal Submitted to



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Section 1: Program Description

1.1 Introduction


It is commonly believed that driver distraction is a substantial attributing factor to automobile crashes. Estimates of the driver distraction effect have varied widely across crash-statistics studies and many researchers are skeptical about the accuracy of police reports with respect to causation. Although driver distraction may not be the direct cause of an accident, it may interact with many other factors, such as traffic behavior and weather. Because of these complications, it is difficult to estimate the size of the problem precisely. A frequently-cited National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) report estimated that approximately 20-30% of automotive crashes are directly attributed to driver distraction and inattention (Wang, Knipling, & Goodman, 1996). The estimated crash rate attributed to driver distraction and inattention is higher for scenarios such as rear-end collisions and intersection incursions. The recent adoption of safety-impacting telematics devices such as wireless phones, internet applications, information and entertainment systems, and navigation systems in the automobiles may further increase the distraction potential and thereby the crash risk. Safety-enhancing systems, such as collision avoidance systems, could potentially reduce crashes, but may also demand driver attention. The SAVE-IT program is proposed to mitigate this situation and reduce distraction-related crashes.

This program will serve several important objectives. Perhaps the most important objective will be demonstrating a proof of concept that is practical, given the current level of technology, and capable of reducing distraction-related crashes and enhancing the effectiveness of collision avoidance systems. By working with such a large portion of the automotive sector, this program will provide the foundational building blocks for a system to be implemented in a uniform manner across all adopters. This will provide a pathway for consistent performance from vehicle to vehicle. Program success will be contingent on integrated closed-loop principles that, not only include sophisticated telematics, mobile office, entertainment and collision warning systems, but incorporate the state of the driver. This revolutionary closed-loop vehicle environment will be achieved by measuring the driver’s state, assessing the situational threat, prioritizing information presentation, providing adaptive countermeasures to minimize distraction, and optimizing advanced collision warning.

A comprehensive program team has formed to demonstrate and evaluate integrated solutions for SAfety VEhicles using adaptive Interface Technologies (SAVE-IT). The team is pleased to submit this proposal in order to advance the science of automotive Human Machine Interface (HMI) Technology. Based on a wealth of prior HMI and system-integration experience, Delphi Delco Electronic Systems (DDE), a world-class tier-one automotive supplier, will lead a team composed of two of the most highly acclaimed universities in the area of automotive human factors, the two largest automotive manufacturers in the world, and the leading developer of stereo-vision eye-tracking systems. The University of Iowa and University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) will provide a level of automotive human factors expertise that cannot be matched. General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor Company will provide an industry perspective for such a ground-breaking system. Seeing Machines Inc. will continue their revolutionary development of a robust non-invasive eye-tracking system that will incorporate significant advancements beyond the version that is presently on the market for human-factors research. Within a market driven business environment, this team brings together a unique blend of expertise and complimentary capabilities to ensure superb technical solutions that are grounded in sound research, development, and engineering practices.

A multifaceted three year program is proposed to develop, demonstrate, and evaluate a driver support system which embodies the SAVE-IT requirements. Two development phases are proposed. Phase I will consist of human factors research to determine diagnostic measures of distraction and workload, architecture concept development, technology development, vehicle demonstration and Phase II goal planning. Phase II will focus on algorithm development and validation, data fusion, integrated countermeasure development, vehicle demonstration and evaluation of benefit.

The team views the SAVE-IT program as the first stage in adaptive interface research. Due to the limitations of funding and time, the SAVE-IT system that is proposed here will provide a scaleable framework from which further research and development should be considered. This program will not only identify technologies that will be appropriate for immediate implementation in production programs, but will also identify technologies that have potential for implementation in a longer time frame. Consideration should be given to subsequent developmental stages to identify the potential scalability of the system and the associated partitioning that provides measured safety benefit over the range of vehicle applications. Follow-on research should consider near-term application of distraction mitigation that are available to most vehicles without safety warning systems, up through the system evaluated for the SAVE-IT program. Additional on-road testing in the form of a Field Operational Test (FOT) should be considered to engage a larger portion of the population, further expose the system to the driving environment, and refine application guidelines, however, this is beyond the scope of this program.

The interaction between the Government and program team in the management of the activities are defined within the program management section. DDE will lead the overall development effort, utilizing a comprehensive team approach which will heavily leverage the respective leadership successes in the areas of vehicle systems, integration, sensor development, human factors research, and driver safety management principles. Communication within the team is of utmost importance and shall be facilitated by email, voice mail, conference calls, and regular face-to-face team meetings.


1.2 Objectives and Goals


The mission of this program is to demonstrate the concept of a comprehensive SAVE-IT system that provides benefit in reducing distraction related crashes and enhances the effectiveness of collision avoidance systems. The primary objectives of this program are:

  1. Advance the deployment of adaptive interface technology as a potential countermeasure for distraction related crashes

  2. Enhance collision warning system effectiveness by optimizing alarm onset algorithms tailored to the driver’s level of workload and distraction.

  3. Conduct human factors research to help derive distraction and workload measures for use in algorithms for triggering interface adaptation.

  4. Develop and apply evaluation procedures for assessment of SAVE-IT safety benefits.

  5. Develop performance requirements for system operation and standards/guidelines for adaptive interface conventions.

  6. Provide the public with documentation of the human factors research and with information describing the algorithms for controlling the driver vehicle interface to the extent needed for specifying performance and standardization requirements.

  7. Identify potential scalable system concepts and sensing technologies for further stages of research and development as follow on to this SAVE-IT program.

The approach to achieving the above objectives will be described within the statement of work (Section 2.3). In support of this mission, other secondary objectives are outlined to provide focus to the development process and to expedite the advancement of key technology science:



  1. Form a strong multi-disciplinary team that has demonstrated expertise in the areas of vehicle systems, integration, sensor development, human factors research, and adaptive safety management system principles.

  2. Leverage and exploit an existing critical technology portfolio in the areas of sensors, data fusion, human factors, and systems for the successful implementation of the proposed SAVE-IT Program. These activities will provide high value-added benefits of minimizing the learning curve, preventing duplication of effort, and streamlining the system design/integration process. This benefit will enable clear focus on meeting the research objectives.

  3. Utilize system engineering design procedures and processes to achieve a seamless comprehensive SAVE-IT system.



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